Let’s not use the R word

Several people spoke at the end of the Ely city council meeting Tuesday night. They didn’t like the mayor’s position on mining and comments he had made.
That’s fine and thankfully in this country people can come forward and make their opinions known. What’s not fine and should be considered unacceptable is to throw around a word with a strong, hurtful meaning.
A couple of the speakers accused the mayor of racism when he discussed not supporting Fortune Bay after the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe came out in support of a bill that would stop copper-nickel mining before it has started in our area.
On a national stage we have heard Democrats use the word racism too often and too broadly. We believe this is the same situation. Was the mayor racist in his comments? No. Is criticizing a group of people for a differing opinion racism? No.
Let’s be clear. This was not at all about race and was all about mining. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.
This is nothing more than using an inflammatory word to make the view of one person superior to that of another. In Ely we don’t need this hateful speech. And we’re wondering why anyone would do this.
The chances of the McCollum bill getting signed by President Donald Trump are less than zero. The chances of it passing the Senate are also in that same ballpark. This is political pandering to the anti-crowd.
On a side note it sure was an interesting hearing in the House when Rep. McCollum introduced the bill and then got up and left the hearing. Minnesota’s Rep. Pete Stauber and Rep. Tom Emmer continually challenged the legislation and without McCollum there to defend it, the pro-mining legislators came out with the upper hand in the end.
We’re years and years away from a final decision on whether copper-nickel mining can be safely done here. For the permitting portion, we are basically at the beginning of the road as Twin Metals Minnesota has just submitted its mine plan to state and federal regulators.
There will be public meetings, comment periods and likely new information to come out over the next number of years. We look forward to that civil discussion and encourage people to be part of the process.
We also would like to not see the R word used frivolously and without merit. And if there are those who will stoop to any lower level to try to get their point across, one thing will be clear. Those arguments will be dismissed with prejudice.